Worthington's White Shield
|Country of origin||Burton upon Trent, England|
|Alcohol by volume||5.6%|
Worthington's White Shield (5.6% ABV) is an historic India pale ale (IPA) available principally in bottle conditioned form. Not as hoppy as a modern IPA, it is today sometimes classed as a "premium bitter".
White Shield was first brewed by the Worthington Brewery in Burton upon Trent in 1829, principally for export to the British Empire. Worthington merged with local rival Bass in 1927, which was itself taken over by Coors in 2002.
White Shield is principally available as a bottle conditioned beer, although it has periodically been made available in cask-conditioned form.
White Shield is brewed using pale malt and a small amount of crystal malt. The hops used are Challenger, Fuggles and Northdown. Different yeasts are used for primary and secondary fermentation. After primary fermentation, the beer is conditioned in bulk for three weeks. Once packaged, it is matured in the bottle for a month before being sent out for distribution. Molson Coors claim that the beer will continue to mature in the bottle for up to three years. Former White Shield brewer Steve Wellington described the product in 2011 as "pretty much unchanged since appearing first in 1829".
Worthington launched East India Pale Ale, their first IPA, in 1829. It was exported to British expatriates across the Empire, mostly officers and civil servants, as the soldiers tended to drink porter, which was more affordable. The growth of the railway network allowed for increased distribution of the beer throughout the United Kingdom. The beer was brewed using the Burton Union system.
The White Shield logo was introduced from the 1870s, and by the end of the nineteenth century the beer took on this name with drinkers. Worthington officially renamed their India Pale Ale "White Shield" from 1950.
92,000 barrels of White Shield were brewed in 1952–53. However, by the 1960s White Shield had become a cult drink brewed in small quantities for a dedicated following; production in 1965 was just 15,000 barrels as drinkers switched to filtered and pasteurised bottled and keg beers. It found renewed popularity in the early 1970s as the demand for real ale grew, but lost this position as the availability of cask ale improved.
Bass relocated production from Burton to their Hope & Anchor brewery in Sheffield in 1981, and the beer ceased to be brewed using the Burton Union method. Production in 1988 totalled 12,000 barrels. The Hope & Anchor brewery was closed down in 1992, and production was moved to Cape Hill in Birmingham, before production was contracted to King and Barnes of Sussex in 1998. By this time, production was down to just 1,000 barrels a year, and the beer's long-term survival was in doubt. The King and Barnes brewery closed down in 2000, and production moved to the Bass owned White Shield microbrewery in Burton upon Trent.
In 2000, a total of 500 barrels were produced; this was forecast to grow to 1,000 barrels by 2009. In 2010, production was moved to the newly constructed William Worthington's Brewery, a microbrewery based at the National Brewery Centre in Burton. It also produces other Worthington beers such as E and seasonal beers. In 2012, increasing demand saw White Shield production moved to the main Coors brewery in Burton. In 2013, Roger Protz described White Shield as the highest selling bottle conditioned beer in Britain.
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- Champion Bottle-conditioned Beers
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